Inspiration: Lifestyle

Most Extreme Places on Earth

5 most extreme places on Earth

The weird and wonderful

From the sun-bleached, almost chemical-looking Ethiopian desert to the (below) freezing Russian town of Oymyakon, take a look at some of the most extreme places this planet has to offer.

Hottest inhabited place on Earth

Dallol, Ethiopia

The average annual temperature of Dallol is a scorching 35°C. With night-time temperatures only dipping just below 30°C and very little seasonal variation, Dallol is hot 24hrs a day and 365 days a year. The nearby and very warm Red Sea keeps the temperatures high during the night – there’s also an active volcano next to the town, just in case it wasn’t hot enough already.

Intrepid tourists tend to head to nearby Erta Ale, a 600m-high active volcano which contains the world’s largest living lava lake. Imagine a moving mix of hydrothermal pools and hot springs. But take note, it’s not just the landscape which is dangerous: visitors are recommended to hire armed guards to protect them against local unrest.

Coldest inhabited place on Earth

Oymyakon, Russia

The average temperature in January is an incredible -58°C. The area is covered in permafrost and is one of the coldest places outside of the Arctic. Still, 500 people choose to live here, and the kids get to stay home from school if it dips below -55°C.

Visitors can try their hand at ice fishing, traipse around former Gulag prisons, discover local culture at the village festivals and, when they can’t bear the cold anymore, enjoy the hot springs.

Driest place on Earth

Atacama Desert, Chile

The average rainfall is about 15mm (0.6in) per year, making Atacama Desert the driest place on Earth. Its surface is said to be the most similar to Mars you can find on Earth. Amazingly,  some mammals do manage to survive here – such as the leaf-eared mouse and South American grey fox.

If this sounds like your ideal holiday destination, why not do it on a motorcycle? Triumph Experience, Brazil takes groups on tours right up into the mountains.

Steepest mountain on Earth

Mount Thor, Canada

Mount Thor on Baffin Island is home to Earth’s greatest vertical drop of 1,250m (4,101ft), with the cliff overhanging at an average angle of 15 degrees from vertical. It’s a popular rock climbing site and camping destination.

Climbers, however, are warned to look out for boulders the size of cars regularly rolling and rumbling down the mountainside.

Most isolated island on Earth

Tristan da Cunha Archipelago

Located in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,500 miles from the nearest inhabited mainland and only accessible by a week-long boat trip on a deep sea fishing vessel, this small island cluster is the very definition of remote. The islands used to be a useful port for lengthy voyages between Europe and East Asia. Today, it’s home to 251 people and part of British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Pretty much a perfect circle in shape, at its centre is a live volcano which, in the early ’60s, erupted for an entire five months.